Born and raised in Norwich, Jahangir is the owner of Dhaba at Fifteen – an exciting dining experience specialising in Indian street food. Based on Magdalen Street, the award-winning restaurant is supplied and supported by other local businesses. When he’s not looking for culinary inspiration, Jahangir enjoys strolling through the Norwich Lanes and taking quiet walks in the city’s green spaces.
A fresh idea
I started Dhaba at Fifteen over four years ago, purely out of necessity. Before that it was my dad’s restaurant, and it had a generic Indian menu – chicken tikka masala, madras and all that. You could get the same meal two doors down. I didn’t want to eat at these places, so I found myself going to London and Birmingham for Indian food. My dad was happy for me to take over, which is when I thought about making food that I would want to eat.
Taste the difference
With any business you’ve got to stand out from the rest. We wanted to do something more authentic. It’s more of a street food and dine-in mix. We’ve got golgappas – the most popular street food in India. They’re crispy puri balls, filled with spicy potatoes and chickpeas, served with tamarind water. It’s an explosion in your mouth. And our most popular dish is the North Indian lamb fry. Customers tell me never to change the recipe.
When we first opened, I wasn’t sure how people would take to it. But I knew Norwich was ready for something different. The first year was hard, but better than we expected. We ended up winning Street Food Restaurant of the Year at the English Curry Awards, which was incredible. In the three weeks afterwards our business almost doubled.
Community on our doorstep
I’ve travelled around the country and nowhere really appeals to me as much as Norwich does. You can walk down the road and people say hello to you. You don’t get that same response in bigger places. The community feel is great for business, especially where I’m based on Magdalen Street. I get a lot of support from other shop owners.
Best for business
Norwich is the perfect place to be setting up a new business right now. The potential is there for anyone to do well. In terms of more innovative businesses, especially in the hospitality sector, it’s a good place to get started. In fact, I’ve recently taken on a space on St Benedicts Street for my latest venture – an Indian-style chai house called Mon Chai, which means ‘heart’s desire’ in Bengali.